UAAP 82: Baltazar was surprised at Ateneo’s suffocating defense on him
Mark Escarlote on Oct 13, 2019 05:19 PM
Ateneo ngayon naka-focus sa akin siguro kaya ‘pag hawak ko na yung bola sa poste, tini-triple nila ako, minsan double. Kaya di ako nalilibre -- Justine Baltazar
Justine Baltazar absorbed the brunt of Ateneo de Manila University’s suffocating defense under the basket.
Coming off a big output before De La Salle University’s rivalry game against the Blue Eagles, Baltazar seemed to be primed up for another monster game that could halt the Green Archers' string of misfortunes at the hands of Ateneo.
But the Blue Eagles drew up a well-planned defensive strategy to shackle the DLSU big man.
“Ateneo ngayon naka-focus sa akin siguro kaya ‘pag hawak ko na yung bola sa poste, tini-triple nila ako, minsan double. Kaya di ako nalilibre,” said Baltazar.
It worked wonders for the unbeaten Blue Eagles as they limited Baltazar’s production to walk away with 77-69 win to clinch a Final Four seat in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament at the MOA Arena on Sunday.
The 6-foot-7 fourth year player was limited to only 12 points on 6-of-14 field goal shooting and grabbed nine rebounds in 39 minutes of play.
His numbers came at the heels of an impressive 25 points and 25 boards haul in DLSU’s 85-61 win over National University a week ago.
Even with Blue Eagles coach Tab Baldwin sending his best defenders led by Angelo Kouame to hound Baltazar down low, DLSU gambled to keep Baltazar on the floor to keep pace with the Blue Eagles.
“Di ko nga alam na kahaba yung time ko. Pero habang nasa loob ako, pilit kong ginagawa yung mga pinapagawa ni coach,” he said.
But last year’s mythical team member could only do so much.
“Sa akin, nabigla rin ako eh. Pag-ikot ko, may do-double,” said Baltazar.
With their muscle inside slowed down, the Green Spikers added to Ateneo’s list of victims as they fell to 4-5 slate.
Sitting at the middle of the pack and with just five games left in the eliminations, Baltazar hopes that they’ve learned their lesson in this match and work on improving for the coming games.
“Siguro para sa akin kailangan nila akong tulungan, kasi minsan talaga di ako makaka-score,” said Baltazar. “Halos nasa labas lahat ng mga nalilibre.”
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